USA-based North End fan jets in for Wembley final

JETTING IN: John Ryding is flying in to watch PNE at Wembley
JETTING IN: John Ryding is flying in to watch PNE at Wembley
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One avid Preston North End fan is flying thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to watch Simon Grayson’s men take on Swindon Town in the play-off final on Sunday.

Lifelong North End fan John Ryding has been based in New York, America, since 1989, but frequently flies back to catch a glimpse of his beloved Lilywhites. And the 57-year-old Preston-born businessman said there is no way he could miss this match.

This trip is a penance for being a PNE fan, not a pilgrimage.

John Rydin

He said: “I’m making the trip because I am a lifelong fan of PNE and all true football fans are mad.

“I’m tremendously looking forward to visiting Wembley. I have never been to the new Wembley.

“This trip is a penance for being a PNE fan, not a pilgrimage.

“We should have wrapped things up at Colchester on the last day of the season. But if you are a PNE fan you have to be there.”

John is meeting up with friends from Preston in London and admitted he is desperate to see North End return to the Championship as being in League One means limited television coverage in the USA.

He said: “Being in League One is torture for an overseas fan, I only get to see PNE in the FA Cup on TV.

“Also it would be a stepping stone to getting PNE into the Premiership.

“We were so close in 2005 but lost 1-0 to West Ham in Cardiff – which is the first match I flew over for.”

And John says all the expense is worth it.

He said: “I probably get over about three times a year.

“Since I sponsor at least one player a year, I like to get over for the sponsorship player event when I can.

“I spend a fair bit on my club but, as they say, you only live once.”